The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) dismissed five members of its top scientific review board, the New York Times reported Monday.
EPA officials began notifying members of the Board of Scientific Counselors on Friday, just weeks after they were told their tenure would be renewed.
EPA Administration Scott Pruitt told the Times he has considered replacing the scientists with industry representatives the board is actually meant to regulate.
"The administrator believes we should have people on this board who understand the impact of regulations on the regulated community,” J.P. Freire, a spokesman for the agency told the Times.
Freire also insisted that the scientists were not fired, adding that those whose terms weren't renewed are welcome to reapply.
“This approach is what was always intended for the board, and we’re making a clean break with the last administration’s approach," Freire added in a statement to The Washington Post.
Those who were dismissed seemed surprised by the move.
"Today, I was Trumped," Robert Richardson, a Michigan State University environmental economist tweeted. "I have had the pleasure of serving on the EPA Board of Scientific Counselors, and my appointment was terminated today."
Today, I was Trumped. I have had the pleasure of serving on the EPA Board of Scientific Counselors, and my appointment was terminated today.— Robert Richardson (@ecotrope) May 5, 2017
The Trump administration directed Pruitt to make significant cuts in the EPA's budget. Part of that, according to the Times, includes rolling back many of former President Obama's regulations on climate change.
In addition, in recent weeks, the EPA has removed climate change research from the agency's website.
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